Culinary Product Development
In the development stage, culinary research and experimentation firms can help brainstorm to develop new ideas, create recipes, and provide demonstration of cooking techniques for the specific product and ongoing consultation with the company so that quality is maintained while individual needs are met. The research and development lab then provides a plan for manufacturing and marketing, so that the product can reach wholesale and retail outlets.
It is also important to provide facilities and resources similar to Maui Culinary Academy (Kahului, Hawaii) that provide cutting-edge instructional and innovative kitchens, and diversified and knowledgeable staff including food technologists, restaurateurs, a variety of chefs, culinary arts professionals, biochemists, and business consultants.
From small business owners to multi-unit, multi-billion dollar companies, consultants are available to guide organizational needs to successfully plan, develop, and implement a company’s prepared foods product program and operation. According to Aeschbach, Inc., a product development and consulting company, targeted food product research and development services can include:
- Concept Identification
- Prototype Creation
- Consumer Exposure and Assessment (measuring product success through store testing, surveys and in-store demonstrations
- Prototype Refinement
- Product Presentations
- Prototype Scale up (assisting during product scale-up, matching production samples with research and development controls)
- Quality Control Protocols
- Cost Formulation
- Production Startups
- Production Specifications
- Vender Specifications (developing and issuing specifications to inform vender of company delivery requirements—temperature on arrival, sampling procedures, etc.)
Marketing and Monitoring Consumer Behavior in Menu Research and Development
The role of menu research and development in creating a product of value to the consumer cannot be underrated. It requires developing test market procedures that explain the situations in which each taste testing is appropriate. It also requires the deployment of foodservice operational techniques that will enable identification of product strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), so that the findings can be utilized when developing the final menus.
The marketing and monitoring process should enable reviewers to interpret results of taste test marketers so that these results can be used to make decisions on food choice and service operations. The process of culinary product development is an art, the mastery of which will reflect both the quality and quantity of the overall contributions made through naming, packaging, pricing, menu design and optimization, and testing.
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